March 2018 Minutes.

The Minutes of the Hollingbourne Parish Council Meeting of 12th March that were approved at the Parish Council Meeting in the Cardwell Pavilion on 9th April 2018

Minutes of the meeting of Hollingbourne Parish Council monthly meeting held on Monday 12th March 2018, in the Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne, commencing at 7.30 pm.

Present: Cllr M Bedwell (Chairman), Cllr A Ward (Vice-Chairman), Cllr J Cobbett, Cllr Dr S Bauer, Cllr D Ardley, Cllr A Bennett, Cllr M Gray and Cllr S Hulme

In attendance: Cllr Patrik Garten (Maidstone BC), Cllr Mrs Shellina Prendergast, one member of the public, and Mrs V. Smith – Parish Clerk.

1. Apologies for absence: None.

2. Declarations and Requests
Declaration of Changes to the Register of Interests – none; Declaration of Interest in items on the Agenda – none; Requests for Dispensations – none

3. Approval of minutes of last meeting (circulated prior to meeting)
It was resolved that the minutes of the meeting on 12th February 2018 are a true and accurate record of the meeting.

4. Matters Arising (not covered elsewhere on the agenda) –
5.a. The CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England) has put in a legal challenge against the building of the Roxhill development at Woodcut Farm, particularly with regards to the adverse effect it would have on the air quality in the locality. Unfortunately their case was dismissed by the High Court leaving the charity to pay costs, and at the last month’s Parish Meeting it was agreed that the Parish Council would give the CPRE £1000 as a token of goodwill in this instance. In response, the owner and possible seller of Woodcut Farm has complained to the Parish Council that the Parish Council has wasted money in supporting the CPRE.
Cllr D Ardley said that the Parish Council opposed the previous KIG application in this area, and they also opposed the Roxhill development at Woodcut Farm. The majority of the village was in opposition to both applications and wanted the help of the Parish Council to fight for the village, and this is why the Parish Council is helping the CPRE financially.
6.b. Mrs Gloria Stringer (81) who went missing in the Hospital Road area on the 1st January 2018, has still not been found. The Kent Messenger has reported that the Police have called off their search for the lady, but the Parish Council remains positive for a happy outcome and urge all village residents to remain vigilant in looking for Gloria.

5. Chairman’s Report – Cllr M Bedwell)
a. Cllr M Bedwell commented that the recent snowy weather had affected many rural roads including Greenway Court Road, which has suffered from flooding since Christmas time, particularly in the area of the railway bridge. The Clerk will contact the Highways department with regards to this matter as it is quite a problem and causes vehicles to break down when they have to drive through the water. Action: The Clerk
b. Cllr M Bedwell advised that two of the local village’s public houses are unable to help provide a drinks bar at the village Fete on 9th June, and that one inn has not yet responded to the Parish Council’s tender invitation. Cllr D Ardley suggested that the Parish Council contact other breweries, and in the meantime the Clerk will find out about obtaining a drinks licence for the day as the bar has been an important source of revenue in previous years. Action: The Clerk / Cllr D Ardley

6. Crime Report
a. There has been one crime report generated between the 12th February and the 12th March 2018 listed on the e-watch website for the Hollingbourne area, which was vehicle interference between 9.00 pm on Thursday, 22nd February and 8.10 am 23rd February. The roof of the Mercedes Convertible was damaged when it was parked in the M20 car-park.
b. Cllr P Garten, Cllr J Cobbett and Cllr M Gray met with Matthew Scott, Police and Crime Commissioner on the 8th March 2018 at the Kent Police Headquarters to discuss the local policing issues including the future costs of Operation Stack. There are major concerns over crime on the North Downs and other rural areas, which takes place particularly at night and includes attacks on livestock and hare coursing. Also, vehicles are breaking down fences to drive upon fields and gardens, damaging crops and the farmer’s livelihoods in the process. In many instances, physical violence is launched upon the farmers and their staff when the offenders are found on their land. Some landowners have to drag felled tree trunks in front of gateways at night to prevent trespassing, only to have to move them again in the morning to gain their access.
Approximately a hundred and twenty local farmers had met recently to discuss the problems being faced and it was believed that the Police are not effective enough to deal with rural crime due to the small number of specified police in the force. Matthew Scott has confirmed that there will be two hundred new police recruited and this may help the situation. Police are also addressing the matter of crime reporting using the ‘101’ system, which is either accessed by telephone or on-line.
On the matter of Operation Stack, there is no central Government funding readily available as the threshold of £3 million has not been reached. In 2015 Operation Stack lasted for 35 days and cost Kent Council tax-payers some £450,000 in policing costs. On this basis, to reach the threshold of £3 million, Operation Stack would have to last approximately 233 days, which is unthinkable. The Police are trying to negotiate this arrangement with central Government to lower the threshold.
The PCSO’s have not attended the Parish Meeting for many months, but Matthew Scott confirmed that they would be attending at least every three months to give an update on police and crime matters. The Police are actively seeking people who want to be PCSO as an ongoing career choice, rather than using the role to further their advancement within the police force.
c. The Parish Council would like to urge villagers to contact the Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 if they have information relating to crimes, or other concerns that they would like to anonymously supply to the Police. Crimestoppers is a charity which the Police use frequently. If you own a smart phone, the ‘app’ https://countryeye.co.uk/ is also a very convenient way of reporting matters and concerns to the police and the Parish Council would urge you to use this service.

7. KCC Volunteer Support Warden –
a. The matter of having a KCC Volunteer Support Warden within Hollingbourne will be discussed at the Parish Assembly on the 10th April 2018. The Clerk has received notification from the WI that they believe that having a KCC Volunteer Support Warden would be a very good idea. The Clerk will investigate the matter further and contact Parish Councils already using the service for comment. Action: The Clerk

8. Request for Sponsorship from Hollingbourne Short Mat Bowls Club – Cllr J Cobbett
a. Cllr J Cobbett has received a letter from the Hollingbourne Short Bowls Club looking for a grant contribution of £600 towards team shirts and fleeces, as they play on a competitive level in two Kent leagues and take part in charity events. It is with regret that the Parish Council felt that a contribution could not be made as there are various sports clubs within the village and if they fund the Short Bowls Club they would also have to fund the other clubs, which would not be financially viable for the Parish Council or wise use of public money. This decision was agreed upon unanimously by all of the Parish Councillors. Cllr S Hulme said that it would be prudent at the Parish Assembly to explain why the Parish Council cannot financially support requests such as this. Funds could be raised by the Short Bowls Club by having a stall at the Village Fete, and the Clerk will recommend this to them.

9. Clerk’s Report
a. The Clerk has recently attended a First Aid at Work course, where she was also trained in using a defibrillator machine. The Clerk will also book to attend a further course which will cover her in administering first aid at events such as the fete.
b. The Clerk also took part in KALC training in relation to planning, which has given her further insight into how decisions are made and why recommendations by the Parish Council are not always agreed upon by the local planning department.
c. The Clerk is continuing to obtain quotes for the artificial grass to be laid at the Cardwell Pavilion in line with the request from the pre-school.

10. Hollingbourne Village Hall – Mr M Bedwell / Mr J Cobbett
a. Mr Ian Garood, the Property Director of EI Group PLC, who are the landlords of the Village Hall, has recently confirmed that there is a rolling lease on the hall, and that a new lease may be drawn up over the next year which will be for up to 5 years with a requested but not agreed 12 month notice period at the end. However concern was expressed about the security of tenure of the Hall which was built in 1968 with funds raised locally. If a new Village Hall is required, Cllr A Ward and Cllr P Garten both feel that a Sports Grant might be available to assist in the building if it was large enough to accommodate different sports facilities. The hall could then become a sustainable community facility, with possible outside partners offering support. Cllr D Ardley suggested combining the Village Hall with the Cardwell Pavilion, and involving the Cricket Club and School in its usage. Cllr M Bedwell is in regular liaison with the Village Hall Committee for updates as to the halls lease status which expired in August 2016. Cllr J Cobbett reassured the Parish Council by saying that the Enterprise Inns Plc would probably feel very embarrassed if the Village Hall had to be relocated.

11. County Councillor’s Report – Cllr Mrs Shellina Prendergast
a. The KCC voted to raise council tax by 4.99%, within which includes a 2% contribution towards adult social care. This means that the average ‘Band D’ dwelling will have an increase of £68.00 per annum.
b. The Leader of the KCC, Cllr Paul Carter has taken direct control over the future of the subsidised bus services in Kent. The future of many local bus services including the number 13 bus services no longer depend on a previously proposed consultation.. However Cllr Prendergast urged the local communities to express their ideas on the future of rural transport so that their needs can be met.
c. Cllr Prendergast request that the KCC online reporting system for road issues is used rather than contacting herself and other officers directly. The online reporting system is a far quicker way to resolve a problem as the issue can be directed to the right department immediately. Also, the online reporting system collates figures and trends accurately, which dictates how public money is spent in certain areas and this is very important. Cllr J Cobbett will highlight this matter on the village website.
d. With regards to the proposal for part-time traffic lights at the Great Danes roundabout, Cllr Prendergast explained that the money is simply not in the Highways budget to provide such works. Developments are also going ahead on the consultancy for the Leeds/Langley bypass and the KCC is responding to it. The ongoing problem with traffic going through Hollingbourne is due to the congestion on the A249, and there is unfortunately not one local village who is not struggling with heavy traffic flow. Cllr Prendergast said that due to a lack of crash data for the Great Danes roundabout, it is not high priority for the KCC, however, the matter should be kept in the public domain.
e. Cllr A Bennett and the Clerk meet with Cllr Mrs Shellina Prendergast regularly to discuss ongoing issues that the Parish Council are considering.

12. Borough Councillor’s Report – Cllr P Garten
a. The Maidstone BC passed their budget, and a 3% increase was voted in favour with twenty-one votes against twenty-nine by the officers and councillors. The initial MBC draft budget, prior to Westminster’s change of rules, limited the increase by only 2% and this is also what the opposing Conservatives’ supported. The increase is mainly to enhance the Communication Department, who talk to the press and produce the Borough Council magazine, and staff wages. £20,000 has been budgeted for the Environmental Enforcement, for this year, but this is not secured for next year.
b. At the end of the Hollingbourne Station Approach, a waste bin was damaged and removed in October 2017. Cllr Cobbett had reported the matter but the bin had not been replaced could Cllr Garten find out why. UPDATE: Cllr Garten chased up the matter for the Parish Council, and the bin has now been renewed.
c. Cllr J Cobbett commented that in February 2018 the development of twelve residential dwellings between Godfrey House and Claygate had been approved. A row of trees on the Eyhorne Street side of the development has since been removed and the Parish Council had thought that the planning drawings indicated that the trees would have been retained. Cllr Garten said that unfortunately there is little that the Parish Council can do about this now. Cllr D Ardley recalled that the Parish Council had discussed the margin area between Claygate and the housing development and the protection of its habitat.
d. Cllr Garten has received a complaint from a local resident about midday parking on Sundays in the Upper Street area of Hollingbourne. Various events can cause congested parking in the location, as it is near a popular public house and the Church. The Parish Council can only recommend that the Police are contacted if a vehicle has been parked in a dangerous position.

13. Planning Report – Cllr A Bennett
a. 18/500919/TPO – Trees at Bear Woods, Crismill Lane, Thurnham
Proposal: TPO application for approximately 8 x Oak trees – deadwood, 1 x Oak – weight reduction on large dead limb leaving on site for habitat, 1 x large Oak – full crown reduction by 30%, 1 x Ash – remove 3 large branch over camp. Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT
b. 18/500867/FULL – Whitepost Tower, Hollingbourne Hill, Hollingbourne, Kent
Proposal: Single storey commercial building plus change of use.
Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT (Councillors – 6 x in favour, 1 x abstain & 1 x in objection). The applicant for the planning was also in attendance at the meeting and could answer any questions that the Parish Councillors had about the development.
c. 18/500959/FULL – Esso Petroleum Co Ltd, M20, Junction 8 from Junction 7, Off Slip, Maidstone
Proposal: The installation of four electric vehicle (EV) charging points. Demolition of an existing patio area and creation of four additional parking bays next to the petrol filling station shop.
Decision: WISH TO APPROVE. The Parish Council is keen to encourage the use of eco-friendly vehicles as they prevent pollution and protect the environment. Additional charge points are seen as very positive.
d. 18/500903/TCA – Eyhorne Green, Musket Lane, Hollingbourne
Proposal: Conservation area notification to reduce row of Yew trees from 9 metres to 3.5 metres.
Decision: DO NOT WISH TO OBJECT (Councillors – 6 x in favour & 2 x abstain).

14. Parish Plan for Hollingbourne – Cllr A Bennett
Cllr A Bennett has drawn up the Parish Plan and the document will be aired at the Parish Assembly for other groups to make their input into the report.

15. Environmental Report –
a. Cllr Dr S Bauer reported on the ongoing problem of fly-tipping in the village and its surrounding country roads. It is also very regrettable that the development at Woodcut Farm has had the green light from the Planning Department.
b. Details of the over the future of the subsidised bus services in Kent can be found on the link https://www.kentlive.news/news/kent-news/victory-kent-lives-save-buses-1067664 .

16. Cardwell Pavilion
a. The Clerk has made enquiries into the necessary cosmetic repairs with the children’s playground, including the repair of the gate, and the fixing of the post underneath the canopy of the Cardwell Pavilion to the ground. The Clerk will report back to the Parish Council for the works to take place when a price has been submitted to her. Action: The Clerk

17. Highways Report (update on speeding signs) – Cllr D Ardley
a. An on-site meeting has been arranged with the Highways Department on the 22nd March to discuss the speeding signs within the village and other concerns.

18. Proposal for Part-time traffic lights at the Great Danes Roundabout – Mr J Cobbett
Please see item 11.d. County Councillor’s report.

19. Parish Assembly –
a. The Parish Assembly will be held in the Village Hall, Tuesday, 10th April 2018, 7.30 pm – 10.00 pm. It was agreed by the Parish Councillors that Cllr M Gray organised and Cllr S Hulme acted as host at the Parish Assembly. Cllr M Gray requested that the Parish Councillors assist in the setting up of the tables at the event before it commences in the evening, and they are happy to do so. Cllr M Gray and the Clerk have met to discuss the preparation for the event. Action: The Clerk / Cllr M Gray
b. Cllr S Hulme suggested that a short overview of what issues and ideas confront the Parish Council are discussed at the Parish Assembly, which would include the Parish Plan, KCC Volunteer Support Warden requirement, etc. The headlines for the Agenda at the Parish Assembly can be finalised nearer to the time of the event.

20. Parks Report (Lance Memorial Playing Field) – Cllr A Ward
Please see item 16, Cardwell Pavilion.

21. Defibrillator(s) for the village –
a. The Clerk has applied for funding towards the two defibrillators in the village. The Clerk will find out further information about the power requirements for the defibrillators, particularly the electric power to the cases. Action: The Clerk

22. Off-Road Motorcyclists and Quad Bikes – Cllr M Bedwell – nothing specific to report.

23. Fête Report – Cllr D Ardley (please see 5.b. Chairman’s Report)
a. A date of the 9th June 2018 has been fixed for next year’s Fete and Exemption Dog Show. A Fete planning meeting is to take place on Monday, 19th March 2018, 8.00 pm, at The Dirty Habit PH, and then a following meeting on Tuesday, 3rd April 2018, at the same time and venue.

24. Twinning with Templeuve-en-Pévèle – Cllr J Cobbett – nothing to report.

25. Financial Report –
a. There is £31,475.91 in the bank. Cllr J Cobbett proposed the approval of authorising the cheques drawn by the Clerk and all Parish Councillors voted in favour.

26. Community News – Please see items 12.d. Borough Councillor’s Report and 19.b. Parish Assembly.

Date of next meeting: Monday 9th April 2018, 7.30 pm, Cardwell Pavilion, Hollingbourne

Signed as a true record: Chairman: Date: